ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY District 9★★★★ 12.10-2.00am C4
South African writer/director Neill Blomkamp has, in just three films, forged his own niche for allegorical dystopian sci-fi starring his teenage pal Sharlto Copley. But before the more expensive Hollywood follow-up Elysium and last year’s robot-themed Chappie, there was District 9. Packing a bold post-apartheid message using giant crustaceans to represent disenfranchised poor black Africans, it became the sleeper hit of 2009. The setting is an alternative Jo’burg where these visitors, nicknamed “prawns”, are forcibly relocated from a township under the authority of Copley’s weaselly bureaucrat. A gruesome mishap with an alien chemical shifts the tone of the story from a race-relations satire into a race-against-time thriller. For all its conventional sci-fi and action tropes, District 9 retains its heart and a sense of the absurd throughout. It’s on late, but do record it.
Prepare to be chilled to the bone as struggling crime scribe Ethan Hawke and family move into a house where the previous occupants came to a gruesome end. Some writers will do anything for inspiration.
Superman director Richard Donner takes the medieval route for this fun escapist chivalric fantasy about a young pickpocket (Matthew Broderick) who hooks up with exiled knight Rutger Hauer and his black hawk (who sometimes turns into Michelle Pfeiffer) against an evil bishop.
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